I grew up only a few hours from Ravenswood, the township in which my new release ‘She’s A lot Like You’ is set. It is a now small mining town in North Queensland, Australia. As children we thought nothing special of Ravenswood other than somewhere locals travelled to for work, or hunting.
The first time I went there, I was taken on ‘the tour’, which in the most basic of terms is a half hour drive around the town. At first I thought there wasn’t much to look at other than old decaying houses, but as I came around a corner I was graced with the image of the graveyard. It was so very small, fenced in, looking like something out of an old Sherlock Holmes movie. Not far from the graveyard was the only remaining original miners shack from the 1800’s. Obviously now it is a tourist attraction, but looking at it, at its simplicity, I couldn’t help but wonder what it must have been like back in the day.
Looking around then at what I always thought to be little more than a dusty old town, I began to envision the people who had once lived here upon Ravenswood’s settlement. I could see women in their long, English styled gowns walking down the streets. I could see carriages taking people to and from the places they needed to go. I could see…but then I wondered if indeed what I was seeing had ever been a reality.
My trip to Ravenswood that day started weeks and weeks of research. To my most pleasant surprise what I discovered about this township was so much more than I could have ever dreamed possible.
Before the town was gazetted and named Ravenswood, it was one of the quickest growing townships in North Queensland. People – gold miners, cattle farmers, estate owners – had been settling there since 1840’s. The wealth that once circulated this town – the gentry that once filled it – it was a romance writers dream.
And that’s why I chose this town to set my story in. I didn’t choose it for the town I grew up hearing stories of, or for the place it has now become. I chose it because I now realise the beauty it had once held. I’m only sorry so many of the old estate houses and dance halls are no longer left standing because they surely would be a sight to behold.